Thursday, September 30, 2010

Golf courses go greener

Turfgrass managers have taken up the mantle of sustainability.  Over the past decade, a number of golf courses around the country have even started to "go organic"!

Some of the alternatives to synthetic pesticides proposed by one golf course site include:

1. Beneficial insects
2. Beneficial nematodes
3. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis)
4. Compost
5. Corn gluten
6. Fish emulsion
7. Garlic oil/juice
8. Horticultural oils (vegetable-based instead of petrochemical based)
9. Kelp/seaweed extracts
10. Lemon & vinegar formulations
11. Lime
12. Beneficial microbes and microbial derivatives
13. Milky spore
14. Neem
15. 100% "organic" fertilizers
16. Pheromone lures
17. Pyrethrin/pyrethrum
18. Rock dust minerals
19. Biopesticides
20. Products on the national list of approved substances established under the Organic Foods Product Act of 1990
21. Products approved as organic by duly accredited certifying organizations such as the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) and the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)

And some of the proposed prohibited substances include:

1. All synthetic chemical pesticides
2. Arsenic
3. Biosolids derived from sewage sludge or industrial waste (i.e. Milorganite)
4. Genetically modified products, ingredients, or seeds (endophytically enhanced seed and improved grass seed cultivars produced through conventional breeding programs are not GM and therefore are permitted.)
5. Piperonyl butoxide and other synthetic ingredients
6. Pyrethroids
7. Tobacco
8. Pesticides dispensed by automatic misting systems

For further reading:

* Sustainable golf courses: a guide to environmental stewardship

* Ecological golf course management

* "Pesticide Exposure from Residential and Recreational Turf" and "Lawn and Turf: Management and Environmental Issues of Turfgrass Pesticides" in Hayes’ handbook of pesticide toxicology

* Alternative turfgrasses for more environmentally sustainable golf course management: velvet bentgrass putting greens and fine fescue/colonial bentgrass fairways

* Turfgrass chemicals and pesticides: a practitioner’s guide

* Turf problem solver: case studies and solutions for environmental, cultural, and pest problems

* Proceedings of the IInd International Conference on Turfgrass Science and Management for Sports Fields: Beijing, China June 24-29, 2007

* Golf course irrigation: environmental design and management practices

* Water quality and quantity issues for turfgrasses in urban landscapes
* Managing wetlands on golf courses

* USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Online (TERO)

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